Oct 042014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/05/07MANILA1702.html

Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA1702
2007-05-24 08:22
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO6198
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #1702/01 1440822
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240822Z MAY 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6642
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/CDRUSPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001702

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV RP
SUBJECT: PHILIPPINE POLICE, MILITARY CONTINUE EFFORTS
AGAINST UNLAWFUL KILLINGS

REF: A. MANILA 855
¶B. MANILA 777
¶C. MANILA 458

¶1. (SBU) Summary. Police continue to file new cases
against suspects in unlawful killings, leading already to
several arrests and ongoing prosecutions, in addition to four
earlier convictions. The Armed Forces launched two dozen
inquiries into alleged involvement by military personnel in
some cases. President Arroyo plans soon to sign an Executive
Order mandating police/prosecution cooperation in order to
improve chances of successful convictions in cases of
unlawful murders and other crimes. A European Union
delegation in June will examine possibility for future
assistance against unlawful killings. Embassy officials
continue to highlight both U.S. concern for such crimes as
well as our desire to find additional ways to help the
Philippines combat this problem. End Summary.

Police investigations
———————

¶2. (SBU) Philippine National Police (PNP) Task Force Usig
Commander Geary Barias on May 22 provided an update to Pol/C
on efforts to bring to justice those involved in unlawful
killings of leftist activists and journalists (ref c). Key
accomplishments in recent months regarding 116 killings of
leftists and 27 killings of journalists from 2001 to the
present have been:
— filing of two more cases related to leftist killings,
bringing the total of cases in which police have filed
charges to 52, along with 21 cases related to killings of
journalists;
— investigations continue on another 64 leftist killings
and on five journalist killings;
— two more arrests of suspects in leftist killings,
bringing the total to twelve suspects in jail in nine
different cases;
— eighteen suspects currently in detention in journalist
killings awaiting trial, with another four already convicted,
and one suspect released on bail;
— filing of charges in five of the six cases of leftist
killings with “military elements” as suspects (with one
arrest and one surrendered suspect already), as well as
charges in two of five other cases in which suspects were
“military assets” (leading to one arrest already); and,
— an additional three police superintendents have been
relieved of command (in Misamis Oriental, Iloilo, and Quezon
provinces) for suspected involvement in or failure adequately
to pursue cases of unlawful killings, in addition to four
others relieved of command earlier (in Laguna, Albay,
Sorsogon and Kalinga provinces).

¶3. (U) The PNP has now set up its own internal Human Rights
Committee, with specific responsibility to investigate cases
in which police are suspects in killings of leftists or
journalists. It also provides human rights training. Pol/C
and the U.S. Senior Law Enforcement Advisor will meet wih
its commander during the week of May 28 to detrmine ways in
which the U.S. Embassy might be ofassistance.

¶4. (U) Task Force Usig statistics ndicate that there have
in 2007 so far been fourkillings of leftist activists and
one of a journalist, compared to 39 and 2, respectively, for
¶2006. General Barias said that President Arroyo recently had
ordered that the PNP resolve at least 20 more cases before
the end of the year, a target that he predicted Task Force
Usig would meet or exceed.

Military efforts
—————-

¶5. (SBU) In a separate meeting on May 21, Lt. Col.
Benedicto M. Jose, Chief of the Armed Forces of the
Philippines’ (AFP) four-month old Human Rights Office (HRO),
briefed Pol/C on latest efforts. The HRO has already
launched 24 “inquiries” into unlawful killings with alleged
involvement of AFP personnel. The current focus is primarily
on cases that took place in 2006 or 2007, especially related
to unusual concentrations of cases in northern Luzon and
Bicol regions. Initial responses from commanders in the
field tentatively ruled out complicity by AFP personnel in
most cases, and often assigned blame to elements of the New
People’s Army (NPA) or declared that the deaths took place
during military operations against the NPA. In a few cases,
the commanders were able to refute that the alleged killings
took place at all, citing inaccurate media reporting. Lt.
Col. Jose said that he would strengthen the HRO’s
investigatory cooperation with not only the AFP’s Offices of

MANILA 00001702 002.2 OF 002

the Provost Marshal General, Inspector General (where a U.S.
Subject Matter Expert under the Philippine Defense Reform is
already working), and Judge Advocate General, but also with
the Philippine Commission on Human Rights. He noted that the
HRO is in close and regular consultation with the
Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), chaired by
Malacanang’s Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita (a retired
AFP general who once served as AFP Vice Chief of Staff and
also as Secretary of National Defense).

¶6. (SBU) In addition to the HRO’s ongoing inquiries, Lt.
Col. Jose confirmed that there are currently five cases filed
in court against regular AFP members (four involving leftist
killings and one of a journalist), along with two cases
against suspected military assets. Four cases against
regular AFP members are still under police investigation,
along with police investigations against two AFP units. In
eight other cases allegedly involving AFP personnel or
assets, either the Department of Justice had already
dismissed charges or the individuals had been acquitted. He
provided details about these individuals and the
circumstances of the various criminal cases.

¶7. (SBU) According to Lt. Col. Jose, the AFP HRO’s longer
term goals, subject to funding (possibly including from
foreign donors), would be to:
— recruit AFP reservists who are lawyers to help with
investigations;
— require re-registration and ballistics checks for all
AFP-issued firearms for later cross-checks with crime scenes;
— develop AFP forensics capabilities; and,
— create a separate and dedicated military police unit
within the AFP, which would be independent and specialized in
investigations and detentions.

Malacanang role
—————

¶8. (SBU) The Presidential Human Rights Committee is
finalizing a draft Executive Order that would mandate
police/prosecutor cooperation from the outset of a crime in
an effort to ensure more successful prosecutions and
convictions of a wide variety of crimes, but targeted
explicitly in the short term on unlawful killings. According
to Executive Director Cecilia Quisumbing, PHRC chairman
Ermita ordered that the Philippine Department of Justice
finalize its review of the contents by May 31. She said that
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as well as Justice
Secretary Raul Gonzales had already indicated their strong

SIPDIS
support for this new measure, and that the President hoped to
sign the E.O. in June 2007. This measure would implement the
kind of cooperation between investigators and prosecutors
that U.S. experts had advocated in a recent INL-funded
seminar (septel), Ms. Quisumbing noted.

¶9. (SBU) A European Union delegation will visit the
Philippines in mid-to-late June to examine the problem of
unlawful killings and determine possible new training and
other assistance, according to Ms. Quisumbing. She added
that she was chairing a series of meetings for relevant
Philippine agencies — including Foreign Affairs, Interior
and Local Government, Justice, PNP, AFP, and the Supreme
Court — to ensure that their proposals and suggestions were
comprehensive and relevant.

Comment
——-

¶10. (SBU) Embassy officials from the Ambassador on down
continue publicly and privately to highlight U.S. concern
about unlawful killings (as well as other political violence,
as during the recent election campaign season) and to seek
additional ways the USG could provide assistance to the
Philippine Government in combating these human rights abuses.
The Embassy’s Public Affairs team, Law Enforcement Working
Group, and Political/Military Working Group, as well as the
U.S. Senior Law Enforcement Advisor and his staff, remain
seized with the issue, and will sustain or expand our efforts
while promoting greater cooperation with Philippine
authorities.

Visit Embassy Manila’s Classified website:
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/manila/index. cfm
KENNEY

   

 

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